When Bishop-elect Dorsey McConnell was chosen to lead an Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh still deeply wounded from a 2008 schism, he prepared to face anger, resentment and grief. He wasn’t prepared for the drivers.
“I had to get used to driving here because people are so polite,” said the bishop-elect, who hails from Boston. “I’ve been unnerved by the kindness of people in traffic. They let you turn left in front of them. I love this city.”
The question is whether the diocese will turn left. Pittsburgh has been among the most theologically conservative dioceses in an increasingly liberal denomination. That culminated in a 2008 split in which its last tenured bishop led a majority of parishes and clergy out of the Episcopal Church in a dispute over biblical theology and gay ordination. But some conservatives believed schism was wrong and remain in the Episcopal diocese, which is still fairly conservative by Episcopal standards. It has 9,000 members in 33 parishes.